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Democrats Plan Deficit Blame

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Sen. Charles Schumer told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday that he believes the super committee will deadlock because of Republicans’ refusal to raise taxes.

Of course, Republicans are not thrilled with the picture Democrats are painting, and they appear to be fatigued by Democrats continuing to claim that Republicans are beholden to Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform and author of a no-tax-increases pledge signed by many GOP Members. And even some Democratic sources voiced private concern that pushing the “failure” narrative, as opposed to highlighting their policy priorities, makes the party appear to be rooting for deadlock.

GOP aides pushed back almost immediately on Schumer’s comments Monday by pointing to statements made this weekend by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who showed an openness to changing the tax code to bring in more revenues.

“I believe that if we restructure our tax code, where on the corporate side and the personal side, the target would be a top rate of 25 percent, it would make our economy more competitive with the rest of the world,” Boehner said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It would put Americans back to work. We’d have a broader base on the tax rules. And out of that, there would be real economic growth and more revenues for the federal government.”

Given the failure of previous deficit negotiations over taxes, Democrats worry whether Boehner’s positions are made in good faith. Boehner twice this summer walked away from talks with President Barack Obama over tax issues, but at one point, Obama and Boehner were talking about a deal that would have included nearly $800 billion in new revenue.

Additionally, Democrats say they have already seen the GOP panel members’ plan and were dismayed that it counted cuts to Medicare beneficiaries as part of its approximately $700 billion in new revenues. Democrats presented a $3 billion plan that would have had spending cuts roughly equal to new revenues.

Despite the larger impasse, individual Members of the bicameral, bipartisan super committee continue to meet one-on-one or in small groups to try to make headway in lieu of full-group meetings. Republican Members met in Co-Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s (R-Texas) office Monday afternoon, and one-on-one meetings between Members were scattered throughout the day.

Hensarling and Murray are also in daily contact, according to sources, discussing big-picture issues for the committee and continuing to push forward through the difficult terrain of taxes and entitlements.

The panel has until Nov. 23 to approve a final agreement, but it must have Congressional Budget Office scoring to do so. Members and staff have continuously been sending information to the nonpartisan office throughout the months-long negotiating process.

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